Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea. Curaçao has a population of just over 50,000 people, making it the third smallest country in the Netherlands Antilles. Curaçao sits just 10 miles from Venezuela and 150 miles from Martinique. The official language of Curaçao is Dutch, but there is also a Creole language that is spoken by a significant percentage of the population. Curaçao's economy is based primarily on tourism and financial services. Curaçao has one of the world's highest GDP per capita rates and its currency, the Curacao dollar, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The island is well known for its white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. Curaçao was first settled by the Carib people some 2000 years ago. It was taken over by the Dutch in 1634 and became part of the Dutch colony of Curacao. In 1954, Curaçao seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and became an independent country.